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Weekly Workout: Full Circle

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Most folk, country, and rock songs remain in one key, allowing soloists to wrap their head around one tonality at a time for at least eight measures or so. But some songs are based on circle-of-fifths progressions that change tonalities rather rapidly, and often. There are circle-of-fifths progressions that stay in one key, but also ones that rely on dominant-seventh chords and undergo changes in tonal­ity or in the underlying scale with each chord that make them trickier to navigate for soloing. Here are some ways to navigate these quick tonality changes.

Most folk, country, and rock songs remain in one key, allowing soloists to wrap their head around one tonality at a time for at least eight measures or so. But some songs are based on circle-of-fifths progressions that change tonalities rather rapidly, and often. There are circle-of-fifths progressions that stay in one key, but also ones that rely on dominant-seventh chords and undergo changes in tonal­ity or in the underlying scale with each chord that make them trickier to navigate for soloing. Here are some ways to navigate these quick tonality changes.